December 2021 Meeting
Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services (WPCHS) held its December meeting at ADAPT in Bogalusa. Rusty Fornea, ADAPT Executive Director, presented an overview of services and programs offered at ADAPT. ADAPT stands for All Deserves Advocacy, Prevention, and Treatment. Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence programs offered at ADAPT include a rape crisis center, 24/7 crisis line, hospital escort services, mental health counseling and more. All sexual assault and domestic violence services are offered free of charge to victims and survivors. ADAPT also offers substance abuse services including drug screening, START (Stages Toward Addiction Recovery Treatment) classes, and SACAY (Substance Abuse Choices And You) classes. Prevention programs are provided free of charge to students in city and parish schools including Life Skills Training, Generation Rx, Kid’s Don’t Gamble, Safe Dates, and Catch My Breath. All programs are evidenced-based or evidenced-informed. The mission of ADAPT is to unite the community in providing resources and implementing prevention strategies and direct services to address the causal factors that lead to violence, substance abuse and other problem behaviours in Washington Parish.
November 2021 Meeting
Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services (WPCHS) held its November meeting at ADAPT in Bogalusa. Members of the Washington Parish Youth Coalition (WPYC) provided a program on Vaping. Youth discussed trends, data, and the truth about hazards of vaping. According to the Center for Disease Control, there were 60 confirmed deaths in 2020 related to e-cigarettes or vaping. WPYC members are sending the message, “It’s your life, choose wisely.” Youth who assisted in making the presentation included Gracie Thigpen, Bailey Burdette, Shyanne Burris, Brylee Pittman, Roderick Robinson, and Abram Pounds. Regina Meyerchick serves as the parish coordinator for the WPYC.
October 2021 Meeting
Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services (WPCHS) held its October meeting at ADAPT in Bogalusa. The program was provided by Jennifer Johnson, Region 9 Early Steps Regional Coordinator. System Point of Entry for Region 9 is Hammond, and the office number is 985/429-1252. Early Steps is also known as Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Children from birth through three years of age who are experiencing developmental delays in two or more areas – physical development, cognitive development, social and emotional development, adaptive development, or communication – are eligible for the program. Early Steps services are provided in the natural environment of the child. Referrals are being accepted. The fax machine is currently not working due to problems from Hurricane Ida, so the best way to make a referral is to call 504/451-0938.
September 2021 Meeting
Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services (WPCHS) held its September meeting at ADAPT in Bogalusa. The program was provided by Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) by Managing Attorney, Paula Charles, and Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) team members, Camilla Kinsey and Tiffany Whitley. Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) fights for fairness for vulnerable people. They provide free, civil legal aid to low-income people in six offices, across 22 parishes throughout southeast Louisiana. Washington parish residents are served by the Covington Office which is housed in the ADAPT Franklinton Office each Monday. October is National Domestic Violence Prevention Month. According to Charles, there has been a rise in domestic violence cases. SLLS can help in getting Temporary Restraining Orders, Protective Orders and an array of additional services.
June 2021 Meeting
May 2021 Meeting
January 2021 Meeting
November 2020 Meeting
WPCHS Holds November Meeting
October 2020 Meeting
Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services (WPCHS) held its October meeting at ADAPT. Guest speaker was Paul Thibodeaux from the Washington Parish Coroner’s Office. Thibodeaux has served as an investigator for 13 years with the Coroner. Part of his responsibility is to determine the cause of death.
Bogalusa AARP Chapter 4032 and WPCHS jointly announced the 2020 Census High School Essay Contest Winners. First place winner, LaShayla Jones, Bogalusa High School student, received a check for $500. Second place winner, Faith Warren, Franklinton High School student, received a check for $250. Third place winner, Shavantae’ Sims, Bogalusa High School student, received a check for $100. Emma Dixon, AARP President, congratulated the winners, and thanked all of the committee members, and ADAPT for its support. She recognized representatives from the school systems which included Paul Kates, Bogalusa City School Board President; Nicholas Mcintosh, Bogalusa High School Principal; Frances Varnado, Washington Parish School Board Superintendent; and Mike Ingram, Washington Parish School Board Supervisor of Child Welfare and Attendance.
Reports were given by members. Tiffany Crain, ADAPT Administrative Assistant, announced that ADAPT is continuing to offer all services, including the sexual assault services which are free. ADAPT has opened an office in Franklinton on Cleveland Street to primarily provide sexual assault services. Rhonda Gunnell, ADAPT/PFS Director, reported that Prevention Connection/Partnership for Success meetings are held each month at 8:30, prior to the WPCHS meeting. The meetings are open to anyone who would like to join forces in reducing underage drinking and substance use by youth. Regina Meyerchick, WPCHS Drug Free Communities Director, announced that 80 youth have completed applications to be a member of the Washington Parish Youth Coalition, which is a branch of WPCHS. Ginger Champagne, ADAPT/PFS Epidemiologist, reported that churches are being asked to form partnerships with and provide substance abuse/misuse prevention materials for congregation members. Outdoor movie screenings with a prevention message are also available for churches that are interested. Gloria Kates, gave a brief overview of the attempts being made to bring a Hookah Lounge to Bogalusa. WPCHS supported the comprehensive smoke free ordinance which was adopted by the City of Bogalusa in 2016. According to the CDC, hookah is not a safe alternative to tobacco and can cause some of the same health issues that are caused by tobacco. The Bogalusa City Council will hold a meeting on November 17th at 5:30 pm at City Hall. Members are invited to attend and voice their opinions. Glory Davis, WPCHS President, reminded everyone to vote in the upcoming election. She also asked members to complete a nomination form for WPCHS Officers and Committees for the 2021 year. Greta Williams, Regina Coeli/Bogalusa Head Start, announced that they are serving smaller numbers of children who are three and four years old due to Covid-19. Emma Dixon, AARP President, announced that AARP is partnering with Southeast Legal Law Services (SLLS) to aid the low-income population. Wendy Henley, Beacon Behavioral Health, announced that outpatient therapy for substance abuse is being provided at the Bogalusa Office. Katasha August, Bogalusa High School Health Center, reported the continuation of services to students who have health needs.
Attendees at the October meeting included: Rhonda Gunnell, Ginger Champagne, Glory Davis, Emma Ross, Regina Meyerchick, Frances Varnado, Faith Warren, Dawn Warren, Kelvin Warren, Tiffany Crain, LaShayla Jones, Alfred Jones, Gloria Kates, Paul Thibodeaux, Maddie Champagne, Greta Williams, Paul Kates, Nicholas Mcintosh, Shavontae’ Sims, Mary Sims, Mike Ingram, Katasha August, Emma Dixon, Elbert Buckley, Jr., Buffie Passaro, Alice Sherrard, Bruce Sampson, Valerie Jordan, Wendy Castillo, Wendy Henley, Alicia Blades, Donna Davis, Dana Walker, Toni Staton, Lori Chopin.
The next scheduled meeting for WPCHS will be on October 27th at 9:30 a.m. at ADAPT, 216 Memphis Street, Bogalusa. Meetings are open to the public. For more information, contact Rusty Fornea at 985-735-0160.
On behalf of WPCHS, President Glory Davis presents Paul Thibodeaux with a Certificate of Leadership.
LaShala Jones, Bogalusa High, was presented a check for $500 as the first-place winner of the AARP Chapter 4032 Census Essay Contest. Pictured are: Elbert Buckley, Jr., AARP Board Member; Emma Dixon, AARP President; LaShala Jones; Nicholas Mcintosh, Bogalusa High Principal; Paul Kates, Bogalusa City School Board President.
Faith Warren, Franklinton High, was presented a check for $250 as the second-place winner of the AARP Chapter 4032 Census Essay Contest. Pictured are: Frances Varnado, Washington Parish School Board Superintendent; Faith Warren; Emma Dixon, AARP President; Dawn Warren, parent
Shavantae’ Sims, Bogalusa High, was presented a check for $100 as the third place winner of the AARP Chapter 4032 Census Essay Contest. Pictured are: Emma Dixon, AARP President; Mary Sims, grandmother; Shavantae’Sims; Paul Kates, Bogalusa City School Board President
Essay Contest Committee standing back row Glory Davis, Committee Chair; Regina Meyerchick, Rhonda Gunnell, ADAPT; Ginger Champayne, ADAPT; Seated, Emma Ross, Co-Chair; Emma Dixon, AARP; not pictured: Dana Walker, ADAPT; LaDarrius Brister, and LaDarrick Smith
Essay Contest Review Committee included Ginger Champagne, ADAPT; Emma Ross, AARP/WPCHS; Rusty Fornea, ADAPT; Glory Davis, AARP/WPCHS; and Emma Dixon, AARP; not pictured: Rhonda Gunnell, ADAPT
July 2020 Meeting
LaDarrick Smith, Washington Parish Youth Coalition Member and CADCA Trainer, addressed the WPCHS members at the July meeting. LaDarrick is a senior at Varnado High School and has been a youth coalition member since his 8th grade year in school. LaDarrick presented training during the last week of July at the Virtual National Mid-Year CADCA Conference. He showed the WPCHS members an example of a community assessment that he prepared for one of his sessions. LaDarrick talked about the importance of identifying problems in the community, using data to back it up. Each of the parish high schools have a Youth Coalition and students are welcomed to apply for membership.
October 2019 WPCHS Meeting
Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services (WPCHS) held its October meeting at the ESM United Methodist Church. Pete Sullivan addressed the group. He is the CEO for Riverside Medical Hospital located in Franklinton. Riverside is a critical access hospital and serviced 15,000 patients in the Emergency Room this past year. According to Sullivan, Riverside has made many advances during the past few years including relocating and remodeling its new wing which includes a lab with updated services. Sullivan stated that Riverside is very community oriented and makes services available for those who are interested. Some services that are provided include: Safe Sitter Program, Stop the Bleed classes, CPR classes, EKG’s for Athletes, and a Butterfly Release. Riverside Medical Center works closely with Our Lady of The Angels Hospital providing vital services for the citizens of Washington Parish.
July 2019 WPCHS Meeting
Darrell Fairburn was guest speaker at the July WPCHS meeting. Fairburn, Superintendent of the Washington Parish School System, has 44 years experience as an educator. During his talk, Fairburn explained that "Education is the foundation for improvement and growth. We must educate our children for their future.” He also stated that Washington Parish is ranked as one of the highest poverty parishes in Louisiana. Fairburn concluded his talk with this call to service, “We must all come together with a common goal of making our community a better place for our children and its citizens.”